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Growing Tomatillo

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
    S   P              

(Best months for growing Tomatillo in USA - Zone 5a regions)

S = Plant undercover in seed trays P = Sow seed

  • Easy to grow. Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 21°C and 27°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 70 cm apart
  • Harvest in 10-14 weeks. Husk splits when fruit is ripe..
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Will happily grow in a flower border
  • Young tomatillo
    Young tomatillo

NB Tomatillos are not self-fertile so you need to have at least two plants for cross-pollination. Tomatillos are from the same family as Cape Gooseberries, with a papery husk round the fruit.

Tomatillo plants are similar in growth to tomatoes and spread about 1 -1.5m . Can be supported but are happy spreading themselves around. The plants are very productive so 2 or 3 plants may be enough for the average household.

Tomatillos will cope with cooler weather than tomatoes. The fruit will swell to fill the husk as they ripen. Do not use fertiliser.

When buying seed, check that it is Ph. ixocarpa not Ph.peruviana otherwise you will grow Cape Gooseberries instead of Tomatillos.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Tomatillo

Use in spicy sauces with or to replace tomatoes.
They are the base of salsa verde in Mexican cookery.

Your comments and tips

02 Jul 16, Patricia Dunsky (USA - Zone 7a climate)
Where can I buy tomatillos in New England area?
11 Jan 16, Rory Derrick (USA - Zone 10b climate)
Hi there, from what you are explaining there it sounds like the fruit that they called tomatillo, it is a relative to the tomatoes, they are used in the making of the green Mexican style salsa type of topping sauce.
04 Sep 14, S.R. Weeks (USA - Zone 10a climate)
I had a volunteer (a.k.a. "weed") tomatillo-like plant sprout up in my garden. It has grown to be approximately 3 ft. high, same foliage as shown above & has pointed lantern shaped papery outer coverings around a small green tomato-like fruits. Is this edible? Would the Cape Gooseberries be edible?
17 Aug 14, Marie (USA - Zone 8a climate)
Tomatillos have done well here in Texas, which is extremely hot and dry. I grow them in the summer, and they seem to do well in temperatures over 39 degrees Celsius. Humidity does not bother them, but pruning lower branches helps prevent rot.

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. Gardenate is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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